The benefits of houseplants

As this has been houseplant week we thought we would feature a blog about houseplants including the health and wellbeing benefits plus some suggestions on plants you might like to try at home.

According to the RHS website   “As well as looking good, houseplants support human health in homes, offices, schools and hospitals. Research suggests that the greatest benefits of indoor plants are through wellbeing and productivity improvement.“

It is said that including plants in the workplace/home/school can have the following psychological benefits:

  • Reducing stress levels
  • Improving attention spans
  • Improving moods
  • Increased productivity

With so many people working from home introducing plants into your workspace could really help with these areas as well as improving your wellbeing.

There is a wide variety of research taking place on what type and how many plants we should have in our homes or workplaces to provide tangible benefits to air quality. However just a few plants can improve our mental health. 

During lockdown there has been more time to propagate plants both indoors and outdoors. In these winter months having some greenery indoors can be a real boost to our mental health. Perhaps you don’t feel you have green fingers and need some suggestions on houseplants that are low maintenance and easy to grow?

Spider plant -With its lovely variegated green and white leaves it is an all time favorite as it is so easy to grow as long as you don’t over water it. One of its main features is that it likes to grow little spider plants giving it a trailing effect so it can be grown in an indoor hanging basket. The little spider plants can also be used to grow new/more plants that can be shared or simply put in other places around the home. They will tolerate a wide variety of conditions including bathrooms.

Dragon Plant – if you are looking for something a little larger then this lovely plant is another easy to look after species. Leaves can be white and green or red and dark green leaves, they can have narrow or wide leaves, depending on the variety.  It grows upwards so can fit into narrow spaces. It prefers to be underwatered rather than overwatered and enjoys a humid atmosphere such as in a kitchen or bathroom.

Jade/Monkey/Lucky/Money plant is a succulent with dark green shiny leaves. It is said that if you grow it at the front of your office space it can bring good fortune and prosperity.  Jade plants need to be a bright area with access to sunshine. Young plants should be positioned in in-direct sunlight whilst larger more established plants can tolerate direct sunlight. They enjoy regular watering once the soil has dried out. This is a sharing plant as once established it is easy to take cuttings from.

We have a zamioculcas in the office that was given to us by one of our patients. It is directly facing the reception desk so our reception team get the benefit of seeing this lovely plant whilst they are working.

IDD Therapy features in Spinal Surgery News

IDD Therapy Spinal Decompression for unresolved back and neck pain features in Spinal Surgery News

Some of you may know we do a lot with patients who have back and neck pain.  IDD Therapy is a treatment tool we have been using, especially for patients with disc problems like a bulging or herniated disc as well as sciatica.   

Spinal Surgery News is a prestigious publication and whilst the main focus is spinal surgery, most spinal surgeons operate on a fraction of the patients they see.  Instead they advise patients not needing immediate surgery to try all non-surgical options.   

IDD Therapy helps patients with unresolved pain, who need more than manual therapy and this article looks at how IDD Therapy works and how it is expanding in this country.   

This is the Spinal Surgery News link click here  

Here at Theale Wellbeing Centre we provide IDD Therapy and use it in combination with manual therapy and exercise.  It’s great to see IDD Therapy getting the coverage it deserves.  

If you or someone you know is struggling with back pain, neck pain or sciatica, we are here to help.  We offer a full range of treatments to get you moving again.  

You can book an initial consultation or if you would like to talk and get a better idea what treatment might best suit you, request a call back and Michael will be happy to discuss options with you.  


Gift Vouchers are now available from reception during opening hours. They make perfect Christmas gifts and can be redeemed against any of the therapies we have available – here is a list of the therapies available.

Call us to order your gift vouchers and we can arrange collection or to post them to you for a small extra charge.

Insomnia & Acupuncture

How Acupuncture can help Insomnia

It is thought that 1/3 of all people in the UK will experience insomnia at some point in their life- that’s over 22 million people in the UK! W There could be even more in 2020 after such a challenging year.

Insomnia can include:

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Waking throughout the night
  • Waking early in the morning and not getting back to sleep

and as a result one can:

  • Feel tired upon waking in the morning
  • Feel tired and irritable throughout the day
  • Struggle to concentrate in the day

Medications can be prescribed to induce sleep, and while they can provide temporary relief they do not address the underlying cause.

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute – Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety.  During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health

Acupuncture can help treat insomnia by inserting fine, sterile needles into points around the body, which stimulate the nervous system and in turn affect the body’s balancing mechanisms, promoting physical and emotional well-being. Chinese medicine treats a person holistically and therefore each treatment is tailored specifically for your needs. So whether you have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep, acupuncture can help promote a better sleep naturally.

For further information from evidence-based research, visit the British Acupuncture Council page

Acupuncture is a tried and tested system of complementary medicine. The Chinese and other eastern cultures have been using acupuncture to restore, promote and maintain good health for thousands of years. In China it is used in mainstream health care, both as a stand alone therapy and in combination with conventional western medicine.

According to traditional Chinese philosophy, our health is dependent on the body’s motivating energy moving in a smooth and balanced way through a series of channels beneath the skin. This energy is known as Qi.

Acupuncture uses fine single use sterile needles to connect with the energy or Qi of the body via a system of pathways known as meridians. The intention is to restore the natural healthy balance of the body and to promote healing.

If you need help with insomnia or any other health issues then contact me and I will be happy to have an initial chat about how acupuncture can help you.

Emily Delahaye, Acupuncturist

Managing Stress

Although much is talked in the media about this condition – normally bad stress – but actually feeling stress is perfectly normal when experiencing things such as lockdown. It can be classified into two areas – the good and the bad. Sometimes at work it can be motivating (good stress) but there are times when you may feel incredibly overwhelmed resulting in difficulty in concentrating on anything (bad stress).

Are there benefits?

Yes – It is actually a burst of energy it helps you decide on what to do. In small doses it can help you meet regular challenges providing motivation to reach goals more efficiently. Amazingly it can even boost memory.

We are more aware of this condition when it acts as a warning system – fight or flight that alerts the sensors to danger keeping us safe! In fact the body produces chemicals that create a variety of reactions including increased heart rate and blood pressure.

What are the down sides?

Because we see so much about bad stress in the media we are aware that it can be detrimental to our health. This is especially true if you suffer from stress that is ongoing and prolonged. It causes conditions such as depression, sleeplessness and high blood pressure and can be harmful to your heart.

What is Too Much?

Image by Phúc Mã via Pixabay

As we are all different and our reactions to it will vary it can be difficult to tell whether you are suffering from the bad or the good. There are some key indicators when you are suffering from too much stress including:

  • Difficulty sleeping or feeling sleepy all the time
  • Frequent bouts of flu/colds or just generally aching
  • Feeling irritable/angry
  • Struggling to concentrate
  • Eating too much or having no appetite at all

What can you do if you suffer from bad stress?

At Theale Wellbeing Centre we have a variety of therapists who can help you to manage this condition. Including

  • Massage
  • Acupuncture
  • Homeopathy
  • Reflexology

Winter Weather and Chilblains

Although the weather has been fairly mild so far it is likely that as we move through the colder months of the year some of you develop chilblains.

Chilblains, whilst being uncomfortable rarely cause any permanent damage. The present themselves as small red or purple bumps on the toes (and other extremities), they can be painful and itchy. Sometimes they break open and become ulcers which can lead to infection.

Chilblains are caused by sudden drops in temperature causing the small capillaries to constrict and prevent blood flow getting to the tips of the toes. Problems often occur when feet are warmed too quickly after being chilled.

Individuals most likely to be affected include:

  • The young or elderly
  • Those with poor circulation
  • People working in cold environments
  • Those that are not very active
  • Individuals who have anaemia


It is important not to scratch them even though they may be itchy. Scratching will increase the risk of the chilblains breaking open and becoming infected.

Unsurprisingly the best way of avoiding this condition in the first place is to keep the toes, feet and legs warm and if they do become chilled, warm them gradually.

Try to avoid wearing anything that constricts the feet, such as tight shoes or event tight hosiery, that can reduce the blood supply. Good quality shoes/hosiery rather than quantity is the better approach.

Lotions such as witch hazel and calamine can be soothing and creams like lanolin can help insulate the feet at night.

If the chilblains have broken causing a wound, antiseptic ointment should be used together with a sterile dressing. If you have a condition such as diabetes you may be more at risk of infection. If in doubt see your GP or call us to book an appointment with one of our podiatrist.

Lloyd Clark-Morris,Senior Podiatrist

Getting Ready for Winter Sports?

Prevention & Rehabilitation getting ready for Winter Sports

The slopes are calling and with a bit of luck you will be hitting the slopes? Is your body ready for this increased activity?

We often see people who have been inspired to suddenly increase their activity with various sports only to develop an injury because they did too much too quickly. As long as the injury isn’t too severe it does at least have a positive side – when you come to us for treatment we can help you to not only recover from the injury but get your body ready for any increased activity. We can make you stronger working with you and your body preparing for those tempting ski slopes.

Our specialist therapist Yulia works not only in rehabilitation (post-operative, post injury, preoperative) but also in prevention.

Yulia will work with you to develop a combined series of exercises and treatments that will make your body stronger. You will be able to take on extra activity confident in the knowledge that your body can cope.

We work with a wide variety of individuals including:-

  • Skiers
  • Snowboarders
  • Cyclists
  • Runners
  • Tri/Duathletes

Making your body stronger will improve your performance. Even if you don’t currently have an injury if you are thinking about increasing your activity, or have a few niggles that prevent you getting the best out of your activity, book an appointment with Yulia and see what a difference she can make.

If you would like to know more about Yulia follow this link to our team page.

Call our reception team to book your appointment today with Yulia.

Lack of Sleep?

Are you experiencing lack of sleep?

Since the start of lockdown, I have had a number of discussions with clients regarding their sleep, or rather lack of it !

Many people are going to bed later and laterwaking up several times in the nightwaking up with anxiety, or feeling groggy upon waking. Many studies have shown less than 7 hours sleep per night could make you 3x more likely to develop colds plus a wide variety of health issues, ranging from anxiety, depression, poor cognition, fatigue, and low immunity, to an increased risk of stroke and coronary artery disease

Top tips for better sleep !

  • Create a routine with a regular sleeping pattern (e.g. 10pm-7am each night).
  • Journal before bed to clear and calm your mind.
  • Make your bedroom your sleep sanctuary – if your desk is in there, try to move it to another room if you can. If working from home is going to be your reality for the months to come, it is imperative to keep ‘work’ and ‘home life’ separate.
  • Increase your daylight exposure e.g. light box for waking (such as Lumie), walk or run before work or on your lunch-break, evening walk to watch the sunset.
  • Sleep in a dark, quiet room – e.g. blackout blind, ear-plugs, eye-mask.
  • Increase daily movement outside to daylight exposure as well as physical activity, such as an early morning walk in the park.
  • Adjust the timing and frequency of your eating to ensure balanced blood glucose levels. Aim for 2 or 3 well-balanced main meals rich in good quality fats, protein, and plant fibre, minimise snacking, and make sure to consume all food within a maximum 12 hour eating window (e.g. 7am-7pm).

  • Reduce your evening exposure to blue light. Avoid technology at least 1 hour before bed and engage in a non-tech, calming mindful activity instead e.g. board-game, aromatherapy bath.
  • Minimise daily intake of caffeine, alcohol, and sugar, all of which can disrupt sleep quality. Opt for healthy alternatives, such as herbal tea, a glass of chilled kombucha, and naturally sweetened snacks respectively instead.
  • Find a relaxation technique which you love and would enjoy practising on a daily basis, such as yoga, meditation, gardening, singing, reading fiction, jogging, or having a bath. Apps such as Calm and Headspace provide guided meditations and can help with a restful sleep.

Supplements for better sleep:

  • Magnesium has been used for centuries for its calming properties.
  • Vitamin B12 can potentially improve sleep, daytime wakefulness, and mood upon waking, by supporting melatonin synthesis ( sleep hormone)
  • Tryptophan is used to make serotonin, which is then converted to melatonin.
  • Lemon balm for its calming properties
  • L-Theanine can increase the production of alpha waves (associated with relaxation)
  • Taking probiotics may be another way to help you manage stress, therefore promoting healthy sleep. Certain strains of Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, including Lactobacillus rhamnosus, can produce GABA[xviii] and also influence serotonin

If on medication always check with your GP or myself prior to taking supplements:

For further information on improving your health, diet and nutrition contact [email protected]

Cathy Foley 

Nutritional Therapist 

Food Sensitivity Tester 

Treatment for Plantar Fasciitus

What is the best treatment for Plantar Fasciitus

treatment for Plantar FasciitusPlantar fasciitis is one of the most common injuries that we see at the Theale Wellbeing Centre. It is the most frequent cause of chronic  heel pain usually where the fascia under the foot inserts into the heel bone. It is thought to have a mechanical origin and can be associated with increased body weight and lower limb biomechanical anomalies. Inflammation is only rarely observed and so anti-inflammatory agents (e.g. Ibuprofen) are unlikely to be of much help. The priority should be to speak to one of our podiatrists as soon as possible as an early intervention usually leads to a better outcome.

When managing Plantar Fasciitis, the following should be considered:  Taping may help in the early stage. If this proves beneficial in terms of pain relief and improved function, shoe inserts (orthotics) should be considered as part of a longer term solution. Calf and plantar fascia stretching should be undertaken regularly. Footwear should be assessed to ensure that it is appropriate for you. If the pain in the heel has been present for a prolonged period e.g. 6 months. One of  best treatment for Plantar Fasciitus is Shockwave therapy. The pain associated with Plantar fasciitis usually encourages sufferers to become more sedentary. As increased body weight predisposes someone to have plantar fasciitis it is important to have a plan that helps to maintain a healthy body weight.

Follow this link for more information about Heel Pain

In this video I explain how shockwave therapy can help with this condition



Michael graduated from the British School of Osteopathy in 1994 having decided at the age of 14 that he wanted to be an osteopath. He has gained considerable experience through working in a wide variety of practices in a number of different locations. He started Pangbourne Osteopathic Clinic shortly after he qualified and gradually built a busy and well-known practice. Having moved to Theale in 2010, the practice has continued to grow and is a very exciting place to work. He enjoys treating a wide range of people and has a particular interest in patients who have acute back or neck pain and sports injuries. He also treats a lot of chronic tendon problems using Shockwave Therapy. He is a consulting osteopath for Read Dance and Theatre College and is rapidly increasing his knowledge of dance related injuries.

Naomi is BACK

Naomi is back in the clinic

We are so excited – our team is coming together bit by bit and now Naomi is back offering massage therapys. Just to give you a little background about Naomi:-

Naoimi is BackNaomi Qualters-Fry BSc (Hons), Dip ISRM

Clinical Sports & Remedial Massage Therapist (level 5), Pregnancy & Postnatal Massage Therapist, Scar Therapist.

After completing a Sports and Exercise Science degree at the University of Brighton in 2004, I went on to become a personal trainer and sports massage therapist (level 3), training with Premier International.  The soft tissue side of my work was where my passion continued to grow and I went on to complete a Btech Diploma in Clinical Sports & Remedial Massage Therapy (Level 5) in 2009 with The London School of Massage.  In 2011 I then furthered this knowledge with Active Health Group, completing a Diploma in Sports Therapy.

I strongly believe that a lot of soft tissue complaints come from poor posture and muscle imbalances.  These imbalances need to be addressed, via strength and release work, to create a harmonious environment for our bodies to move in.

Since the birth of my two children my passion for pregnancy and postnatal therapies has grown.  In 2017 I studied with Burrell

Naomi is back

Image by Alfonso Cerezo via Pixabay

Education, the leading school for women’s therapies in the country, completing their Pregnancy and Postnatal Recovery Therapy course.  I have recently furthered this knowledge studying with Jenny Burrell herself in C-section, Hysterectomy and Abdominal Scar Immersion.  I feel that care for women postnatally, especial post C-section, is lacking and that there are a variety of things that can be done to reduce pain and discomfort, improve recovery and prevent future problems.

Here is a link to her most recent blog about breathing exercises to help with anxiety and stress.



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